THE HEART OF MATTHEW JADE
by Ralph Allen
St Kitts Press - 2000
ISBN: 0966187954 - Hardcover
Reviewed by Nancy Mehl,
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A strange voice over the telephone. An ominous threat promising death. The fear of his own destruction is not Matthew Jade's main concern. His worry is for his daughter, Katie, almost a teenager. Matthew is already living within the shadows of death; one shadow belongs to his wife, Maudie. His responsibility for her death haunts him every waking moment. And the second shadow is the one that darkens his own soul. This is the darkness he cannot escape.
As the ghosts of his past call out in an ever-increasing chorus, Matt's personal struggle to find meaning for his life runs parallel with a desperate attempt to keep his daughter safe. All he has left is Katie. Now her life is threatened, too.
The Chaplain of the Coffin County Jail asks Matt to assist him. At first, Matt balks. This is the same jail where he was taken after being arrested for DUI, causing the accident that cost Maudie her life. The memories of the dark, dank, jail cell where he spent the night in shame and despair cause him revulsion, but the plea of the Chaplain, Paul Gregg, begins to shine a light of hope into the invisible prison of despair Matt has made for himself. Maybe Matt's life can mean something again. As he reaches for the light, however, death is still pursuing him. Someone is determined to take his last chance for redemption away.
Ralph Allen served as first a jail chaplain, and then Chaplain Coordinator in the Sedgwick County jails in Kansas, for nineteen years. His insight into the jail system and the men inside is eye-opening. The story of Matthew Jade is compelling. THE HEART OF MATTHEW JADE is a novel that will stay with you long after you put it down.
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